After praying the midday Angelus today with those in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis once again made an appeal for peace in Syria.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” he said, “sadly, news continues to reach us from Syria, of civilian victims of the war there, in particular from the city of Aleppo.”
Last week, Aid to the Church in Need reported on the call for help made by Carmelites in Aleppo: https://zenit.org/articles/a-cry-for-help-from-carmelite-nuns-in-aleppo-syria/
“It is unacceptable that so many defenseless persons – among them many small children – must pay the price for conflict — for the closure of the hearts and the want of a will for peace among the powerful,” the Pope said.
The Pope assured his own closeness to the people of Syria, promising prayer and solidarity.
“Let us draw near to our Syrian brothers and sisters with prayer and solidarity,” he said, “and let us entrust them to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary.”
He invited the faithful to pray in silence and then join in a Hail Mary.
Related: Priest in Aleppo: Situation Is Growing More Hopeless
Vatican Radio noted: rebels have been trying to break through a thin strip of government-controlled territory to reconnect insurgent areas in western Syria with their encircled sector of eastern Aleppo, in effect breaking a government siege begun last month.
Fighting has been extremely intense since Friday, when rebels began a major push. There have been reports throughout the weekend of civilian casualties and non-combatant facilities being hit by artillery and possibly even targeted. Those reports include one of an air strike near a hospital in northwestern Syria on Saturday that killed 10 people including children, and caused damage to the hospital facility.
At least one medical charity has reported the month of July as the worst to date for attacks on medical care centres in Syria, with 43 attacks on healthcare facilities recorded in their count.